The Mauritian Minister of Industrial Development, Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, on Wednesday, said that the island’s main exports markets have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 disease.
Mr Bholah named the main exports markets as – the United Kingdom, France and other European countries, indicating that figures showed a decrease of 19% from January to September 2020.
Speaking to the media in Port-Louis, Mr Bholah said that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the business and cooperative sectors have undergone major changes especially in imports and exports as well as local production and consumption.
“Several measures and initiatives have been introduced to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic and sustain the sectors that are important pillars of the Mauritian economy,” he emphasised.
He lauded the resilience of Mauritian operators who have reacted favourably in sustaining local productions.
“This has been made possible with important measures initiated by the Government that comprise of an extension of a Trade Promotion and Marketing Scheme to Africa, Japan, Canada, Australia and the United Arab Emirates until June 2022.”
Other measures are implementation of an Economic Recovery Programme providing for the reimbursement of freight costs of 60% instead of 40%; introduction of a Special Relief Fund of 5 billion rupees; creation of the Enterprise Productivity Solutions Platform and introduction of the Industrial Waste Management Cost Structure Review, Mr Bholah said.
The Minister presented the Industrial Policy and Strategic Plan 2020-2025, charted with the help of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD), to position Mauritius’s manufacturing sector as globally competitive and sustainable.
According to him, the upcoming projects include an amendment to the Jewellery Act that aims to combat money laundering and terrorism.
The Fashion and Design Institute will be restructured and rebranded to create micro-entrepreneurs and incubators for young graduates.
A survey is also being carried out in collaboration with the World Bank to determine the level of productivity in Mauritius. The report is expected in February 2021.
Regarding the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Mr Bholah observed that the major recommendations of the 10-year Master Plan are being efficiently implemented with the support of several schemes that have been put at the disposal of local enterprises amid the COVID-19 to alleviate the harsh financial situation that SMEs and businesses were facing.